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Smiley Family History

Thomas Ward and Margaret (Dixon) Ward

St Mary's Church, Lambeth

Thomas Ward was born at Gravesend about 1817, the son of Thomas and Mary Thomasine (Ripon) Ward. He described himself as a Thames waterman when he married Margaret Dixon at the Church of St Mary, Lambeth, London, in 1839.

Margaret was daughter of George and Margaret Dixon and had been born at Lambeth in 1820.

[Pictured: The Church of St Mary, Lambeth, drawn by Tho. H. Shepherd, engraved by T. Higham, Jones & Co. Temple of the Muses, Finsbury Square, London, Jan. 1, 1831.]

In the 1841 census, Thomas was listed as a lighterman living at nearby Christchurch, Southwark, with Margaret, their daughter Margaret then aged 1, and Thomas' 20-year-old sister Phoebe Ward (lightermen were workers who transferred goods between ships and quays, aboard flat-bottomed barges called lighters in the Port of London).

In 1851, Thomas (aged 34) and Margaret (31) were listed with their children Margaret 11, Charlotte 9, Thomas 7, Phoebe 5, Richard 3 and Jane 11 months. Phoebe Ward was still living with the family, as was Margaret's sister Wilhelmena Dixon, aged 25, and two lodgers, William Greenland and Edward Maynard, who were both in the river trade.

The couple had six children when they travelled to Australia aboard the sailing ship Clara Symes in 1853. The fully-rigged ship was built in Quebec in 1848 and sailed from Bristol on 16 October 1852 with 341 passengers, most of whom were accommodated in steerage. After a 3 month voyage including a call at the Cape of Good Hope, the ship arrived in Melbourne, on 7 February 1853.

Some detail of life on board the Clara Symes is contained in a passenger journal published in No Privacy for Writing (Andrew Hassam, Melbourne University Press, 1995) - it includes information on the death of a seaman who fell from the ship's rigging in the final days of the trip.

In 1856 the Victorian voters roll showed Thomas Ward, boatman, living at Nott Street, Sandridge (now Port Melbourne). Thomas and Margaret had three more children (Robert, Mary and George) in Australia.

At the time of Margaret's death from typhoid fever at Ballarat on 2 February 1872, Thomas was a hotel keeper and their youngest child George was aged 15. By this time, their eldest child, Margaret Phoebe Ward, had married into the Smiley family.

(One of the sons, Thomas Jr, also became a hotel keeper and was at Lake Bolac when he died of delirium tremens (the DTs) on 14 January 1877. The 43-year-old Thomas left a wife, Mary Anne (Ford) Ward and five children aged 15 to 6).

Thomas Sr continued to live at Ballarat, and on 5 July 1872, four months after Margaret's death, he remarried, to Mary Ann Harnack, declaring his occupation to be a boat keeper living at Wendouree.

It appears the marriage did not last, as when Thomas died of a cerebral haemorrhage in Ballarat on 4 July 1893, there was no mention on his death certificate of either of his marriages or any of his family. A notice in the Ballarat Courier invited friends to follow the funeral from his Ripon Street North home to Ballarat cemetery, where he was buried in the same grave as his first wife Margaret, their daughter Phoebe Hamilton (died 1880 aged 34), and two of Phoebe's children (Charlotte and Maud Catherine Hamilton) who died as infants.

Ward family details

Thomas Ward born ca1817 at Gravesend, son of Thomas and Mary Thomasine (Ripon) Ward. Died at Ballarat, Victoria, 1893.

married 1839 at Lambeth, London Margaret Dixon, born 1820 at Lambeth, daughter of George and Margaret Dixon. Died at Ballarat, 1872

Six children, born in England, migrated to Australia with their parents in 1852-53 -

Three children were born in Australia -

* Robert Ward is named as a deceased child on the 1872 death certificate of his mother, Margaret. He does not appear on Victorian birth or death records, which suggests he died at the time of his birth.

For more information about Margaret Phoebe (Ward) Smiley, see Shepherd Parkman Smiley.


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